Friday, April 28, 2006

When enough is enough

Okay, so apparently two very pregnant women standing outside my window talking about packing their hospital bags and only fitting into their husbands shirts will make me run from a room and cry.

Good to know.


So, Ms. Spears has done it again. Pregnant with Federette #2.

You know what this means, don't you? This means she's had sex with that sniveling, beady-eyed, baggy-assed, smelly-looking lout at least twice.

C'mon now Brit, we all know that's two times WAY too many.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Windmills and springtime and memories

Every year after winter finally relaxed its icy grip and warmer weather melted the snow and coaxed green out of the earth, my Grandma would buy my sister and I our regular spring goodies. It was any combination of a skipping rope, a windmill, a tub of bubbles, one of those fat little red, white and blue balls, or the larger marbled kicking-sized balls. If she was late, she'd throw in a pail and shovel (in preparation for summers at their cottage).

I think of her often, but especially in the early spring when the racks of springtime toys start popping up at the grocery stores. The big marbled ball I bought last year is still kicking around the backyard. Some years I just can't resist the nostalgia.

This afternoon as I was wandering through the drugstore after picking up my second (yes, that's right I said second) pack of OPKs for this cycle, I stumbled across this year's springtime display in the process of being loaded onto the shelves.

Knowing I was about to drop $51.99 for a second time in a week on sticks I'm going to pee on and throw out, I wasn't particularly looking to buy anything else, but then I saw a display of teeny, tiny windmills.

I loved those things when I was a kid. My Grandma would get us the ones made of that thin, metallic plastic and they'd sparkle like crazy in the sunlight when the wind caught them and sent them whirring in frantic circles. We'd run through the yard holding the end of the sticks high in the air so they'd catch the wind and go faster, faster, faster!

When we got tired, we'd stand and blow on them to get them to dance for us. I can remember my Mom patiently showing me what angle I needed to blow on them to get them to go - and I remember the thrill of hitting it just right and seeing them spin and spin at my urging.

So when I saw the display today it made me think of my Grandma, and then it made me think of Thomas' Grandma - my Mom. I know that she'd be bringing those simple springtime joys to my son if she could, as would I. As we all would if there was just some way...

So I picked out a blue windmill for my boy. I'll take it to his grave the next time I go, and it will give me comfort to know that it will whir and spin and dance for my little one, day in and day out while the warm spring sun shines sweetly on the grass where he lies.

There's so little I can do. I needed the windmill. I really, really needed it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Big plans

Today I happily communed with nature (that's right, I said happily. See? I listen).

I cut the back lawn (deftly avoiding piles of rabbit poo), cleaned off the deck (who knew that chives, sage and thyme would over-winter in deck railing planters?) and transplanted my second batch of seedlings.

I'm itching to get out and start really gardening, but the ice in the bird bath this morning was a pretty obvious sign that it's not quite time to start planting just yet.

Although the weeds certainly seem to be doing just fine. Ain't that always the way?

Speaking of gardening, I'm a wee bit drunk with power at the moment. My Beloved, whom I dragged to yet another garden centre after supper, told me that planning the yard is to him what financial planning and RRSP crap is to me. Boring. Painfully so.

Of course I needed clarification. For instance, does this mean that I can happily do whatever I please without consulting him, or does it mean he has veto power but will let me do what I want for the most part? Can I really plant what I want, where I want, when I want?

Apparently not - but almost.

He wants input, just not that much. He'll help, but not necessarily all that enthusiastically. Which is fine - that's how I am when he wants to talk about our retirement goals. Yes, I'm concerned, but I know he's looking out for us and I trust his judgment (and our financial planner's expertise) so I merrily wander through those money chats with half my mind on retirement and the other half on what I'll be making for dinner.

I pay the bills, so it's not like I'm completely oblivious and disinterested. I keep a close eye on the funds, but he's the one who plans what we'll do with them. And that's fine by me.

Just like it's fine by him if I plan our yard and gardens. A match made in gardening/financial planning heaven, that's what we are.

So now I'm off to research linden trees. I saw a beauty tonight...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Happiness and guilt, my cocktail of choice

I was on my way to the grocery store this afternoon and feeling pretty good. The sun was out (after two and a half straight days of rain) the grass is greening up all through the neighbourhood, tulips are blooming, and buds on the trees are fat with the promise of summertime shade.

I felt happy.

And then, almost instantly, I felt guilty because I felt happy.

Sometimes feeling better - feeling close to normal - scares the bejeezus out of me. I wonder how on earth I can feel anything other than despair, sorrow and pain. I buried my son - I lost my tiny, beautiful baby boy who I love more than life itself. It just doesn't seem right to feel anything other than utterly and irreparably heartsick.

But the thing is, I am feeling something else these days. And this new peace and happiness that has somehow eased its way into my broken heart feels so good. I can't resist its charm no matter how hard I try. I've missed it - I've missed me. I forgot I could even feel this way, and it's like a drug. I can't get enough of it and all I want to do is soak it up and revel in its beauty and power.

The problem is that as much as I love it and want to embrace it, it somehow feels wrong. Really, really wrong. I feel like a kid sneaking a cookie before dinner or a bandit making off with a million dollars. I shouldn't be happy. I have a dead son - a dead baby. What have I got to be happy about? How can any part of me feel even one millisecond of peace?

Sometimes I think I should spend the rest of my life weeping and gnashing my teeth. That feels like the right and sensible thing to do when your child dies. There should be no happiness after you've buried your son. Ever.

So why is there? How can this be? And what must people think of me, the happy, smiling, content mother of a dead boy??

Like every stage of this horrific healing process, this is confusing as hell. I feel guilty when I'm happy and miserable when I'm sad.

I suppose I should be happy that at least I'm feeling something, but I just wish it was easier to sort all this out. I wish I had drawers for the pain and closets for the happiness. That way they'd be handy when I needed them and stowed safely when they weren't in use. All neat and organized.

I have a scar across my heart that will never fully heal. I carry pain with me that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I am walking through life missing a piece of myself that I can never get back. I miss my Thomas so much it literally makes me ache.

And somehow, without even trying, I'm finding happiness again. Real, honest-to-goodness happiness. And I'm blessed if I can figure out how this happened - how any of this happened.

I don't think I'm living life anymore. I think it's living me. I'm clearly just along for the ride.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just because it's funny...

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine (another fashion victim of the 80s) about the gigantic novelty earrings that were all the rage when we were teenagers. As it turns out, we both had lightning bolt and telephone receiver earrings.

That's right, they actually sold more than one pair of each. Incredible.

Anyway, the trip down accessory memory lane got me wondering about what I actually did save in the way of jewelry from the days of yore.

And so I went digging.

What I found was a plethora of truly horrible and incredibly large earrings circa 1984-1989. Most of them plastic.

I'd forgotten just how frightening earrings can be. In fact, my ears and psyche have been so completely scarred that I rarely wear them at all now. I'm pretty sure I've adorned my years but twice in the last four years - for a friend's wedding in June 2004 and before that, for my own.

Earrings scare me. And I'm about to show you why.

This, my friends, is the contents of my 1980s jewelry box earring drawer. I've included a penny in the shot to show you the scale (apparently my motto was "nothing smaller than a penny" back then):

I threw in a few huge plastic brooches for good comedic measure.

Maybe tomorrow I'll dig out my two foot strands of white plastic pearls...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Clearly I need to get my hair cut more often

I thought hairdressers were supposed to be like bartenders - confidants and keepers of important information. At the very least I assumed a hairdresser would remember someone whose baby died.

I suppose this shoots my "everyone sees me as a mother in mourning" theory all to hell. Which isn't such a bad thing, really.

I know it's been a while since I got my hair cut - five months, give or take a few days - but I thought for sure she'd remember my tale of woe. I figured going today was safe. I'd told my story and wouldn't be asked again. I might get a look of pity and a sympathetic, "How ya doin'?", but otherwise the subject wouldn't come up unless I brought it up.

Apparently the bleach in my hairdresser's hair is affecting her memory. She remembered I'd had a baby recently, but had no recollection that we didn't bring him home with us.

Her words were, "So, you had a baby - now that's two, right? Two children?"

Oh Lordy lady, you couldn't be more wrong.

So, with my head tilted back and my neck uncomfortably resting on the edge of the sink, I had to tell her - again - that we had a baby boy, but he died shortly after he was born.

I have no idea who else was within ear-shot, so I don't know how many other mouths dropped open, but I'm sure I heard hers hit the floor.

She paused, then said "Oh...oh yes - I remember now. I'm sorry." in a tiny, horrified voice.

I spent the rest of the appointment trying to make her feel comfortable, as though we both couldn't see the foot still lodged firmly in her mouth.

It didn't bother me exactly, it just kind of disappointed me. I wanted to go out as Kristin today. I just wanted to be me having a relaxing bit of pampering time. I didn't want to be dead baby mother today. I didn't want to hear the tiny, horrified voice and I didn't want to have to do the "it's okay, I'm fine" juggling act for the rest of the appointment.

But I did.

I know full well I'm being completely contradictory. I know I've said a million times that I want to talk about Thomas - that I hate that I can't talk about him like other people talk about their children. I do, I do want to talk about him and I do hate that I can't be a normal mother talking about her normal son.

But I also hate the awkward silence and palpable discomfort that the mention of his name and the story of his life so often cause. Some days I don't have the energy for it. I know that Thomas' story usually results in downcast eyes and pity - I will know that for the rest of my life.

So sometimes I like that it's a story only my heart knows. I can protect us both then. I don't have to face the pitying looks and I don't have to share Thomas with someone who doesn't want to hear a sad story. In fact, if I don't have to tell, he doesn't have to be a sad story instead of the beautiful, wondrous miracle he was.

I suppose the solution is either to lie when someone gets the details wrong or get my hair cut more often.

Sheesh, and after all that she didn't even cut my hair the way I asked.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Nathan likes me

My sister-in-law just sent this to me...

Nathan said "I like Kristin" while we were driving home from my mom's house the other night. Those were his exact words. He actually opened the conversation and had a follow up. Usually he will say "mommy?!?" and I say "Yes Nathan" and then there is silence for a while, then he says "mommy?!?" and again I say "Yes Nathan" and that is the whole conversation. But on Wednesday after Passover dinner he said " Mommy" and I said "Yes Nathan" and he said "I like Kristin!" It was nice to have more than just the opener of a conversation with him.

Nathan will be two in June. In fact, he was born the day Thomas was conceived.

This has just filled me to the very brim with love and joy.

I like you too, Nathan

Miracle Grow INDEED!

Wow. Miracle Grow potting soil really IS miraculous! The difference between each photograph below is only 8 days.

Maybe this is standard seedling growth, but it seems pretty incredible to me!

You know what? I think I'll just keep on thinking it's miraculous. I need to believe miracles again.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Imagine that

Today was a good day. Thoughts of Thomas ran in and out of my mind as they always do - and there were certainly moments of dark sadness - but it was still a very good day.

And it was my birthday.

My present to me, it seems, was allowing myself to enjoy the day - letting myself find happiness in a sunny day spent with a good friend and an evening spent with family I love. I watched a huge bumblebee dance lazily over rows of pansies and felt deliciously alive. I ate until I was stuffed and felt blissfully content.

I laughed and meant it.

Last year I approached my birthday with dread and horror. I simply couldn't fathom spending it without Thomas, and turning 35 with no living child to call my own was terrifying to me. Unthinkably so.

My situation hasn't changed. I still had to spend the day without Thomas. I still don't have a living child to call my own. And to top it off, now I'm one year older.

But time has healed me enough to allow me to embrace joy when I stumble upon it. And I did - all day long. I reveled in it, as a matter of fact. I drank it in like wine and savored every single drop.

I had a good day.

I almost can't believe I had such an unbelievably good day.

Happy birthday to me!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

From sentimental to morose in 2 seconds flat

My Beloved has a little song he sings when I'm at my pessimistic best. It goes a little something like this...

Who can find the bad in everything she sees? Who can find the sadness in everything that's good?

It's not a long song (and both the melody and lyrics changes every time he sings it) but it gets the point across.

And it's true. I have a special knack for being in a happy moment and suddenly finding myself engulfed in sorrow.

Take tonight, for example. I was in the dining room putting together shadow boxes filled with 40-year old wedding memorabilia for my Mom and Dad's anniversary celebration on Sunday afternoon. I had a box of odds and ends to choose from, including a scrapbook filled with beautiful wedding cards they'd been given by friends and family.

It should have been nirvana, my little dining room. Girls live for this stuff and I'm certainly no exception to the rule.

But instead it made me sad. As I flipped open the glitter leaden cards I found myself reading name after name belonging to people that are no longer here. Friends, aunts, uncles, cousins - all there to celebrate the wedding, but now gone.

Best man, gone. Parents of the bride, gone. Parents of the groom, gone. Wedding soloist, gone. Usher, gone.

Gone, gone, gone.

Granted, they've been married 40 years, my parents, so it's not surprising that a few people have died in the intervening years, but it's not just a case of a handful - a few here and there. There are a lot of people missing. A lot.

And it's sad.

Old cards bring out the sentimental worst in me.

A few weeks ago I dragged out one of my Grandma's old card albums that somehow found its way to my house after my Grandfather died and his house was sold. My Grandma's been gone for 15 years and yet I still found myself sobbing by the time I got to the end of the book. It was gut wrenching to me to see the care with which she'd lovingly placed all those cards given to her (mostly by her children and grandchildren) in the album.

All that care, all those memories, all trapped in a dusty card album that probably hasn't been looked through more than once in 15 years.

Crushingly sad.

Walks down memory lane should come with road hazard signs.

It doesn't help matters that I often wonder if there will be anyone to give all of these treasures to when I die - if there will be anyone left to remember any of us and to tell our stories.

See? From anniversary party preparations to concern over lack of heirs in the blink of an eye.

I'm a masterful pessimist, I am.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Old age and motherhood

Sometimes I forget how old I am until I see a pair of perky 20-something moms pushing strollers along the street in cute little track suits that I have no business even pretending I could wear.

If I got pregnant today my child wouldn't be starting Junior Kindergarten until I was in my 40s.

A sobering thought indeed.

I won't be a young Mom. I know women are having children much later these days, and in fact the ER doctor who saw me while I was having my second miscarriage told me that the average age of first-time mothers is 33. That was great news at the time. I was 33.

But I'll be 36 the day after tomorrow.

I know that in many ways age is just a mindset. I've known old teenagers and young octogenarians. But the plain and simple fact is that being a mother is physically demanding work.

And I can barely stay up long enough to watch Saturday Night Live.

One of the reasons I'm attempting to lose weight is so that I'll hopefully have a safer, healthier pregnancy (if I ever manage to get pregnant again) but the other reason is that I'd like to be able to play with my child and do all the things those 20-somethings do with such apparent ease. Including squeezing into those annoyingly darling little track suits.

So I suppose since being a young mom is clearly no longer a goal within my reach, I'll have to settle for being a cool mom instead.

How unfortunate that I'm such a dork.

Maybe I lack youth and coolness, but what I do have is 20 hours worth of life lessons taught to me by my beautiful first-born son. I haven't forgotten what he gave me. He's not here to remind me of it every day, but I remember the feeling of loving someone more than life itself. I remember the exact moment I realized I loved him like I've never loved anyone before.

And that, I know for a fact, I can do again - no matter how old I am.

Monday, April 17, 2006


One year, one month and one week. That's how long it's been since we said goodbye to Thomas.

Thomas, who should be one.

Insane. Completely, utterly, unthinkably, horrifically insane.

It's also crazy that I have absolutely no idea how I've survived. Seriously - how on earth am I still walking around with a gaping hole where my heart used to be?

Sunday, April 16, 2006


I'm not a napper. No matter how much My Beloved cajoles, I am loathe to lay down on a sunny weekend afternoon and sleep the day away.

I did it when I was pregnant because I was more tired than I thought humanly possible and because I knew it was good for me and Thomas.

But I'm not pregnant, and so I won't nap. And you can't make me.

However, yesterday afternoon I felt myself flagging. Knowing I had a long night at church (singing the Easter Vigil) My Beloved gently suggested that a nap might be a good idea (most likely for my mental health rather than my physical well-being). Exhausted from puttering in the yard and losing sleep earlier in the week, I relented.

I lay down on the couch in the family room and pulled the afghan my Mom made for me over my sleepy self in preparation for a nice, long snooze.

And that's the precise moment my neighbour, out cleaning up his yard from the morning's deck construction, decided to introduce himself to the new neighbours behind them.

I don't know why, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm nosy as hell. I lay there in my little cocoon listening to their loud man-voices bounce off the houses and into my family room through the open sliding door. They did the usual introduction stuff and small talk until finally the conversation wound its way around to children.

The new people have a little boy who will be two in May.

Lying there on my couch in the comfort and safety of my own little house I felt my heart shudder in sorrow for the millionth time. If I hadn't miscarried at almost 11 weeks in October 2003, we would have a little soul turning two in May too. And now I know just how big that little soul would be. For as long as they live in that house and for as long as the yards are barren of tall trees to hide what's in them, I will be able to see what we should have had - what we almost had.

Now I know.

I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. Tried not to think of what we've lost. Tried not to know that I'll always carry so much sorrow with me that will bubble to the surface whenever the hell it feels like it.

I'm ridiculously tired of trying to be happy for everyone else while I'm still so sad for me - for us. For Thomas and for our other two little souls who were too small to even have names. We shouldn't have three dead children. No one should.

I should be able to be at peace on my own couch wrapped in my own blanket. Happy voices full of hope have no right to intrude on my safe place.

But they do.

We need more trees, damn it.

Seven years

It was seven years ago today that My Beloved and I first met.

A mutual friend invited him, me and a few other co-workers out for drinks after work. Having just learned that afternoon that my favourite Uncle's cancer was indeed terminal, I wasn't particularly in the mood to socialize, but because I had already promised to go to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to hear my sister's school choir sing the anthem before the game, I reluctantly agreed.

I made a lousy first impression. I was quiet, sad and starving. I ordered a giant red pepper dip appetizer (which I didn't offer to share) along with a big blue martini, and proceeded to ignore virtually everyone at the table in favour of my plate and very, very welcome beverage.

My Beloved, not expecting a table full of people, was also quieter than normal - and cranky as a result of the stressful day he'd had at work.

So there we sat, me fully engaged in my dip and drink, and My Beloved quietly observing a crowd of strangers he didn't expect - or want - to be sitting with after a long, rotten day.

And yet somehow, seven years later, here we are.

Sometimes I look at pictures of us from those early days - the days before death stormed its way into our home making us far too old and far too sad before our time - and wonder at the innocence and joy I see in our eyes. We look so much younger in the smiling "before" pictures - even ones taken as late as three years ago.

Death takes its toll.

But there's something that pictures of us now, both older and wiser, can't possibly capture. It's the depth of our commitment and attachment to each other, and the unspoken understanding that we can survive the unthinkable as long as we're together.

Misery loves company, sure, but sorrow craves the security of knowing that a wounded heart has one place where it can find comfort and protection - a place where it knows it won't be subjected to more pain. A place where it can rest and heal.

I have that in My Beloved.

Seven years ago I had absolutely no way of knowing that the man I sat with for an hour after work would become My Beloved. Nor did I know that I would find such complete joy or such devastating sorrow in a life joined with his.

But I have, and I'm so thankful for every single second.

Yes, since I know you're wondering, even the farty ones.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Big buds and bunny poop

I went out in the backyard for the first time in months today. It was bright, sunny and deliciously warm out, and so it seemed like an excellent day to rake the thatch out of the grass - a task I always think I'm going to approach with great enthusiasm until I actually get started.

I lasted all of three minutes, I think, when I decided it was far too wet.

But it really was. Honest. It rained most of the day yesterday and the grass was still squishy in some spots. Far, far too wet for raking.

So I pulled weeds out of the vegetable garden beds in preparation for planting in a few weeks while My Beloved blocked up all the holes where we think the bunnies are getting into the yard.

I also checked on Thomas' tree, and I'm happy to report that it's packed with hundreds of big, fat leaf buds. It survived its first winter and looks as healthy as ever, due, I suspect, in large part in part to the bunnies who have been fertilizing every inch of the yard all through the winter.

I'd like to think our tender loving care is the reason for the tree's robustness, but I really am more apt to think it's the way the nursery staff planted the tree combined with the rather prolific nature of the neighbourhood rabbits' gastrointestinal tracts.

There's a whole lot of bunny poop in the backyard, mostly around the tree.

As much as I dislike the idea of rabbit crap all over the yard, there's something very sweet about the notion that the bunnies have been keeping the tree company during the winter - that they've taken a shine to it and obviously spend a fair bit of time resting by the base of its trunk.

I almost don't want to block them from visiting the tree during the summer, but unfortunately bunnies and vegetable gardens just don't mix (hey, I saw "The Curse of the Wererabbit"). And besides, I'd like to be able to walk in my yard without worrying about where I'm stepping.

Hopefully they'll happily come back to keep Thomas' tree company when the snow flies again. And hopefully by the time next year's buds are starting to burst to life, we'll have a new little bunny of our own.

One can dream.

Friday, April 14, 2006

What's so good about it?

I went to my old church for the Good Friday service this afternoon. My Dad asked if I would sing with the choir over Easter weekend, and because he's my Daddy (and also the choir director) I just couldn't refuse.

But I have to tell you, the experience certainly reinforced the fact that God and I still have a lot of work to do on our relationship.

Instead of feeling peaceful and contemplative after the service (which I have traditionally always found very moving and spiritually fulfilling) I was seething with anger. I walked in the door and exploded when I got home.

My poor Beloved stood in the kitchen mixing up the egg salad for our sandwiches (yes, I went meatless even though I'm mad at God) and listened to me rant and rave at the God he's always known me to have great affection for. Historically, anyway.

After patiently listening to my tortured rant, My Beloved reluctantly offered his take on things. And, as always, I think he hit the nail on the head. He said I feel abandoned by God. Although I hadn't thought of it in exactly that way, he's absolutely correct. God left me in my hour of need. He chose not to answer my frantic prayers. He let my son die.

And I have no idea why.

If I just knew that - if I just knew why Thomas had to die I could come to terms with God's decision and move on, confident that I understood the plan and Thomas' place in it.

But I don't - I still don't understand any of this, and I feel like God has wandered off somewhere and left me twisting in the wind. I'm lost and so far he's doing a lousy job at finding me.

I'm not totally sure what else to do, to be quite honest. I've prayed, I've begged for help, I keep going to Mass - I'm searching like a madwomen, but all I hear is silence.

That can't be right, can it? It's a lousy system if it is, that's for sure.

Maybe I don't have the spiritual depth I thought I had. I used to wonder how people who once proclaimed to have strong faith could have that faith shaken so violently by the trials of life. It was so simple to me - you just look to God for help. Cling to your faith and draw strength from it. Turning away from God made no sense to me.

Until now. Because now I realize that it's not so much that you turn away, it's that you can't find what you've been struggling so hard to turn to.

No matter how hard I try, I can't find the comfort I want or the answers I so desperately need. I know there's a God - it's just that he's not who I thought he was.

But then maybe I'm not who he thought I was either.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Good one, world

So I write a post all about desperately wanting to win something - anything - and the world listens, snickers, and sends me The Simple Life, season III.


I'm excited about winning, true, but I entered an awful lot of contests for an awful lot of things I wanted. This wasn't one of them.

For the record, I don't know why I entered a contest to win something I didn't want. My only excuse is that my ballot went in during those early, heady days of contesting back in March. I was entering to win anything and everything in sight - simply because I could.

I gave little thought to what I'd do with the beer can dispensing machine, for example. Or the Harley. Or the vibrating leather recliner with speakers in the headrest. But I entered to win them just the same.

In retrospect I suppose I should be thankful that all I won was a DVD set.

This little win has given me the motivation to keep on contesting, but I am resolved to be a wee bit more selective from now on.

In the meantime, The Simple Life DVDs are up for grabs.

Any takers?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

And still they grow

So the seedlings and I enjoyed a quiet morning together watching TV while I transplanted them to their little pots. I probably watched the TV a little more closely than they did, but I'm sure I saw the tomatoes perk up a bit when the gardening show turned its focus to their delectable brethren.

Playing in the dirt, as I've said before, is remarkably healing. As soon as I slit open the bag of potting soil I felt my body relax. The humid, earthy scent was like a magic elixir, instantly triggering memories of simpler times - like watching my Mom plant seedlings and nurture her little crops of Impatiens through the late spring in preparation for colourful summer gardens.

There is so much promise in a tiny seedling and it seems so miraculous to me that I should be able to play a part in making something so beautiful. The whole process seems so much bigger than it used to for some reason.

I'm not sure why. I mean, I made a child so growing a seed shouldn't really seem all that awe inspiring - but yet it is.

I'm just flummoxed by life in general, I suppose. By its promise, its resilience and its beautiful fragility.

Today was most definitely a good day for playing in the dirt. I needed to feel a part of the process today. I needed it very, very much.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

13 months and I forgot

I just realized I completely forgot Thomas' angel day on Sunday.

When he first died I counted the weeks until eventually they blurred, stretched and turned into long, sad months. But I remembered the 9th of every month. His angel day - the day he was born and the day we knew he would soon become an angel.

But this time I totally forgot.

And now I'm suffocating in guilt and shame. I forgot.

Oh Thomas, please know that I could never, ever forget you even though I forgot your 13th angel day - never, never, never.

Now? Maybe now? How 'bout now?

A few weeks ago I decided to start entering online contests to see what might happen. There's an amazing number of contests out there with prizes ranging from lipstick to $25,000 kitchen makeovers.

I would love to slick on a lovely shade of free gloss while standing in a $25,000 kitchen.

I mean really, who wouldn't? It free stuff. Free stuff makes me giddy. It's nearly as good as chocolate, is free stuff. I nearly peed myself when I found a contest for a year's worth of chocolate and a trip to P.E.I. to visit the chocolate factory.

Willy Wonka jokes aside, that's one hell of a prize, eh?

So I've been entering like a mad woman. Granted, I've kind of tapered off in the last week or so (it takes awhile to search for and enter contests, especially when you're trying to track the ones you've entered so it's all neat and official looking. You know, so you can defend the shocking amount of the time you've spent on your ass in front of the computer) but at last count I was, I believe, at over 300 entries.

That's not 300 individual contests, you understand. That's just 300 entries. Some contests allow you to enter daily, others as many times as you want. So I do have some multiples in the bunch.

But regardless, that's a lot of contests if I do say so myself.

And I have nothing to show for it. Not one single crappy tube of lipstick. I know, I know, I only started a few weeks ago and at least 3/4 of the contests I've entered aren't even over yet, but I'm instant gratification girl and I reeeeeeeally want to win something.

I'm certain my huge sense of entitlement has everything to do with my desire to win right now. It's a side effect of being in mourning after a horrible tragedy.

The world owes me and I'm waiting for it to deliver. Pronto.

The other reason winning soon would be nice? I'm starting to look like a lunatic, pressing my face to the window every time I hear the rumble of what I think might be a delivery truck...

Seriously world...soon?

Monday, April 10, 2006


I am without blog today.

Good God, you know what this means, don't you? This means I'm speechless.

Someone take note of the date and time. Hell has obviously frozen over.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Little, tiny shoes - and big ones to fill

A smiley little boy about Thomas' age sat beside me in church this morning. He had on the same lion Robeez that we have stored in a big box in the basement along with all of Thomas' other things.

I hate when things like that jump up and bite me in the ass...and proceed to break my heart.

At the end of Mass my priest announced that he'll be moving to a new parish in June. Father Dave was so wonderful when Thomas died. I was a relatively new member of the parish and he didn't know me from Adam, but he showed up at the hospital a few days after Thomas died to talk to My Beloved and I, and he said the most beautiful and moving funeral Mass I've ever heard a week later.

I always hoped one day he'd baptize another child of ours - I hoped he'd be a part of a happy celebration so that he could see how much we've healed since that day a year ago when he sat by my hospital bed and talked to us while we were still shell-shocked and too stunned to say much more than thank you.

I feel like he was a part of Thomas' life in some strange way. It's terribly unsettling that he's leaving.

I want to collect all the people that were a part of Thomas' tiny little life and keep them close. It's not the same as having Thomas here, of course, but staying near those people who touched my life and his during such an awful time has given me tremendous comfort.

I can't believe he's leaving. He knew my son - he knew of him, anyway. He can't go. Who will remember Thomas at my church now? Who besides me will remember the little white coffin on that lovely sunny day?

I'm tired of people leaving my life.

New rules: If you're in it right now in any way, shape or form, you're stuck with me. No more leaving - for any of you.

Sorry, that's just the way it is.

(Come on now, don't make me beg.)

Friday, April 07, 2006

A beautiful tribute from wonderful friends

To the ladies on my chat board who wanted to make sure that two little angels were never forgotten by making and using the banner above, thank you so much for always remembering my Thomas and Sherry's little Ryan with so much sweetness, warmth and love.

It only took a year and three months...

I've finally figured out how to add links. Yes, after just 15 months.

Watch out now, IT departments across the planet will be knocking down my door, begging me to come practice my brand of technical wizardry in their firms.

Whatever. At least I can spell IT.

Anyway, I've included a list of blogs I frequent. They are written by a collection of witty, tortured, angry, happy, talented, passionate, loving, hilarious, thoughtful, kind, wounded, determined souls - and you should check them out.

Poke. Poke. Poke.

More, more, MORE seeds

I'm going out to get more seeds and more seed trays today.

Must use my remarkable God-like powers to make more things grow.

Fine, fine, fine. I know full well a chimp could get seeds to grow, but it soothes me to think that there's something I can manage to give life to.

So there.

(And see? See how well they're doing? I just couldn't be more proud of my pretty little seedlings.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ain't love grand?

I've been freezing cold every night for the last four nights, mostly, I suspect, because I'm too stubborn to admit that spring isn't quite here yet and I'm insistent upon keeping the bedroom window open - if even just a crack. I'm a big fan of air. In fact, I have to admit that I keep the bedroom window open all through the winter too, much to My Beloved's endless chagrin.

Anyway, just like the three nights previous, last night I was getting ready for bed all the while lamenting the fact that I was once again feeling decidedly popsicle-esque. I still had to brush my teeth and do all the rest of my nighttime rituals, so My Beloved (who was already tucked up in bed) said, "you go finish in the bathroom and I'll warm your spot."

I turned to see him wiggling over to my side, foregoing the nice warm spot he'd already made for himself.

And my heart, for the millionth time since I met him, melted.

Giving up your warm spot to someone too stubborn to keep the window closed on a chilly spring night? That's the surest sign of love there is.

Well look at that - it's the sun!

My Mom always told me that things look brighter in the morning. Maybe it was the only way she could get me to stop moping about whatever was eating at me long enough to get me to finish my homework and go to bed, but whatever the case, it always seemed that she was right.

And it still holds true.

I feel much better today, and honestly I'm a little embarrassed by my rant yesterday. I'm not embarrassed about feeling the way I did, I'm just a little sorry that I posted about it while it was still so fresh. I sounded so angry, and I'm kind of ashamed of that. I don't want anyone who is pregnant to think that I'm secretly seething inside the whole time I'm with them or talking to them. I'm not.

It's just that for some reason yesterday it was really difficult to talk about baby things for as long as I did.

I love babies. I love hearing about babies, I'm happy when I hear a friend is going to have one, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing who our new little neighbour is going to be. I am.

But it still sometimes sucks the life right out of me to participate so fully in baby talk and to pretend that it doesn't hurt all the while. Because it does, even when I'm happy for the mom and dad.

It's one of those lovely side effects of losing a child, I suppose. You lose your ability to participate fully in the joy of someone else's pregnancy no matter how much you might want to. And I hate that.

But I also hate that I let everyone know that with such alarming vehemence. I'm always afraid people with children and people who are pregnant will shut me out for fear of further wounding me, so I work hard to make them feel comfortable around me.

And then I go shooting my mouth off and alienate them. Pretty clever, eh?

Forgive me. I have the rest of my life to figure all this out and learn coping techniques that don't include multiple expletives and bitter vitriol.

I'll get there. I will.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Not such a good afternoon

Do you ever sometimes have a big cry stuck in your heart that you know needs to come out? Do you ever stifle those cries? I've cried so much, and I know where it gets me. Exhausted, puffy eyed and completely spent. I just can't bear to set this cry free. I'm too tired to cry. Too fucking sick and tired.

I had a good day - a good, productive and happy day.

And now there's an ache in my chest because I just spent 20 minutes talking to my pregnant neighbour on the driveway about baby things. I want to be her so badly it literally aches. Honest to God, I can actually feel it.

I want to go back to two months before Thomas was born. I want to be going to prenatal classes. I want to be buying burp pads and onesies. I want to be shopping for strollers and car seats and diapers and creams.

I want it all back. Damn it, I want it back!!

What kind of fucked up system is this??? Why do people have babies that die? Why do the gods let those people get pregnant at all?

I've said before that I would do it all again to have those beautiful months with Thomas growing inside me and to have the chance to see his sweet little face. And I would. I swear I would - in a heartbeat.

But there's definitely something to be said for never having to go through this agony. This ongoing, life-sucking agony that I can't hide from no matter how hard I try.

Fuck me. I can't even go shopping.

I just want some peace. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I want peace and I want this fucking ache to go away.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Recently overheard

Me: Rat BASTARD!! We don't have any bananas - I can't make banana bread!
My Beloved: That's it. No more Sopranos for you.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The curtain

I just finished stripping the bed, which necessitated moving the lazy lump of a cat off My Beloved's side. She bounced around the bed for a while as I maneuvered around her until she finally jumped down and made her way over to the sunny windowsill.

And there she sat, in a patch of sunlight, peeking through the sheers at me while I finished with the sheets. She looked so cute sitting there watching me that I had to go over and talk to her.

Yes, I talk to my cat. I figure I don't have anything to worry about until she starts answering back. In English. Until that point I think it's safe to say that my sanity is in tact. More or less.

Anyway, I bent down in front of her thinly veiled face and talked to her. Eventually I put my finger on the sheers to try and touch her nose, but all I felt was curtain. I wanted to pick her up and hug her, but the curtain separated us and all I could do was talk to her instead.

And then I thought of Thomas.

I've heard many theories about what it's like to exist in the afterlife, but the one that has always felt most comforting to me is the one that suggests that our loved ones are with us, just behind a "curtain" so we can't see or touch them. They're always there, but in a place just beyond our reach.

I stood back from the window and watched Lucy's eyes follow me. She could still see me and hear me and watch me, but I couldn't touch her. I couldn't be with her in the way I've grown accustomed to after 9 years of cohabitation.

I stared at her as she stared at me. Then it dawned on me that this is exactly what I believe it's like for Thomas and I. He's here, it's just that he's sitting behind a curtain that I can't throw open.

It's funny to have this little epiphany so long after Thomas' death. I always believed he was watching over me, but for some reason it feels like today he needed to remind me - and to show me, in a way he knew I'd understand, how very thin the curtain that separates us really is.

Thank you Peanut

Sunday, April 02, 2006

So in the end...

...we went to the amazing Italian bakery near my church and picked out a selection of cookies and biscotti for the neighbours.

They're not home right now so the cookies are sitting at the front door where, I have to admit, they're in rather grave danger of being plundered.

I'm hungry. Dinner isn't for another hour or more.

It's a good thing for the cookies that I'm running low on Weight Watchers points thanks to a rather decadent dinner I know is waiting for me at my Mom and Dad's house tonight.

Otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd be covered in biscotti crumbs and burping happily by now...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Really, really, really bad cookie bars

Our pregnant neighbour's grandmother died this week. It's actually a bit of a relief because I knew something was up. Like everyone, they're pretty much creatures of habit, and I noticed that things have been a little different the last few days. Cars were there when they shouldn't have been, people were coming and going, and they were home at odd hours of the day.

It scared the crap out of me, what with my innocence having been robbed and all.

Anyway, S told me the news this morning when he stuck his head into the garage I was busily cleaning to say hi. I managed to say I'm sorry, but I think I may have look a little too happy. I was just so afraid there was something wrong with the baby, and finding out it was an 85-year old who'd died instead was, well, a relief. Sad, yes, but a chest-emptying-sigh kind of relief just the same.

They were so sweet to us when Thomas died and they even brought flowers over a few days after his birthday last month, so I decided to make them a little treat. Nothing says comfort like home-baked cookies or cakes.

I guess that goes without saying. We all know how I feel about cake.

So I scoured my chocolate cookbook for a recipe and found chocolate pecan toffee squares, which I thought sounded pretty darn good. And not only because I've been depriving myself of gooey sounding treats like the aforementioned since January 2nd. They really did sound quite nice and very giveawayable.

It was a nice, simple recipe and it even indicated that you could use whole wheat flour if desired. I figured that since M is pregnant, she might like the idea of a slightly healthier treat. So I opted for the whole wheat.

Note: whole wheat doesn't work.

The bars broke while I was taking them out of the pan but that was the least of my problems (and probably not a result of the flour) since there was still enough usable surface area to salvage. The big problem was the taste.

They sucked.

The end result was something akin to melted chocolate and nuts on top of a crumbly whole wheat sandwich. A musty, stale whole wheat sandwich.

They were disgusting - and certainly not something you'd want to take to a grieving pregnant woman. Pregnant women, grieving or not, are pretty particular about food. You can't wave something that looks delicious in front of their faces and allow them to discover that the beautiful, chocolate covered treat actually tastes like feet.

So there they sit, a pile of musty, stale whole wheat bars covered in an entire (and tragically wasted) bag of melted chocolate chips. My Beloved thinks they're okay (he has a notoriously poor sense of smell which is the only reason I can think that he'd actually find these even remotely palatable) so it looks like he's set for treats for a good long while.

As for me, I'm out one bag of chips and a gift for our sad neighbours.

Maybe I'll pick something up at the bakery on the way home from church tomorrow.

Something with absolutely no trace of whole grain and zero nutritional value. It's bound to taste good then.